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tv   CNN Tonight  CNN  May 28, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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>> end of the road. ♪ this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. is hollywood to blame? is elliot rodger's deadly rampage somehow related to what we see at the movies? one film critic blast what is she says is a sexist movie mono culture. today we'll debate with people on both sides. plus, is america still the most powerful nation on earth? does it even matter? tonight we want to know what you think. tweet us using #askdon but i want to begin with a heated argument heating up the country. does hollywood have a role in promoting the misogyny that pushed elliot rodger on?
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now hollywood is fighting back. nischelle turner has more on that now. >> reporter: in the bloody aftermath of the santa barbara mass killings, ann onaday sees elliot rodger's diatribe. >> you popular kids, you've never accepted me. >> reporter: and writes a column tying his murders to a director's son growing up on the fringes of hollywood n it she writes, rodger's rampage may be a function of his own profound distress, but it also shows how a sexist movie monoculture can be toxic for women and men alike. >> he had created this video on youtube that seemed to be such a product of the entertainment industry that he did grow up in literally and as a member of the culture. >> reporter: but her column specifically points to seth rogen's recent film neighbors and other comedies made by writer, producer, director, judd apatow asking. >> how many students watch
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"neighbors" an&and feel as rodg did? >> are you talking to me? >> reporter: those comments inspire a celebrity backlash with rogen tweeting -- how dare you imply that caused a lunatic to go on a rampage while apatow says she promoted it. she didn't mean to single out apatow or national neighbors." >> those that are created by men and pivot around vigilante justice, how that might inform not just someone suffering under really terrible mental illness but the culture at large. >> a culture still struggling to understand what could drive a young man to murder.
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nischelle turner, cnn, new york. >> nischelle turner, thank you very much. that was a nice story there. joining me now the star of the iconic 1980s comedies "three men and a baby" steve guttenberg and rachel scolara and michael med ved, arthur chu, might remember him as the former "jeopardy" show and nina burly who writes for "rolling stone." steve, thank you and everyone for joining us. steve, hollywood's taken quite a rap since this latest shooting. just some of the titles that have been mentioned "neighbors," 40-year-old virgin, weird science, a big bang theory, knocked up, superbad, 16 candles, superman two. is hollywood part of the problem, steve? >> well, first of all, my heart goes out to the families of the victims and it's just a terrible tragedy. but the truth is that nobody
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makes somebody do this by watching a piece of art, whether it's going to the museum or watching a movie or a television show. this is a person who had a deranged mind and we're going to have to figure out why he and many other people think like that and we have to get to the root of the problem. >> since his father was the a.d., assistant director on "the hunger games" because, you know, his youtube video was shot in such a cinematic way, was blaming hollywood you think just an obvious choice here? there were just too many factors that came together? >> sometimes everybody in the media is looking for a hook and this seems like a reliable hook. but films are inspirational for the most part people go to movies and feel great about them. they learn. there's movies like "12 years a slave" or "dallas buyers club" or "bridge over the river kwai."
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this tragedy has nothing to do with hollywood and it's a shame that it's come to that and i wanted to put myself here to talk about the industry that i love and how i love movies as most people do because it makes them feel good. >> michael medved, what started all this was ann's column in "the washington post" and here's what she wrote. she said movies may not reflect reality but they powerfully condition what we desire, expect and feel we deserve from it, the myths that movies have been selling us become even more palatable the a time when spectators become their own auteurs and stars on youtube, instagram and vine." does she have a point? where we believe them to be true? >> no, of course, there's no question at all. of course movies influence reality. i wrote a big book about that 20
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years ago but the point about this is they're attacking the wrong movies. i wonder if anybody has seen "neighbors." i wasn't a huge fan but seth is very happily married. what is so striking about elliot rodger and demented testament he isn't interested in relationships. he isn't interested in the nerd getting the girl. 'interested in sex. this is a fact of life. most women are not interested in nerdy guys who don't want a relationship and all of the movies he's attacking by judd apatow and seth rogen and steve guttenberg, yes, about nerdy guys in loving relationships and a sweetness to them. >> that's enough of us guys talking. a woman's point of view. rachel, was it fair for ann to focus on seth rogen and judd apatow. >> i don't feel like she did. i feel like seth rogen focused
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on seth rogen. "neighbors" was the most recent movie to come out to glorify frat culture but i agree with michael that i'm not even sure how many saw it. i saw the ads for it but i don't necessarily think it's films like "neighbors" that are the culprit. >> she mentioned themself. why wouldn't he respond? what do you mean she's not talking -- >> i think the focus on "neighbors" as the demonic hollywood film to blame is a red herring here. i think you have to look at the totality of who is making films, whose voices are usually heard and who is portrayed and how. you know, the other thing that ann mentioned was the bechtel test which looks at are there women in the film, do they talk to each other, do they talk to each other about something other than a man? a lot of films actually fail this test which is indicative of male centered stories and male centered protagonists. >> okay, if i could just jump
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in. >> let me jump in then you can, michael. listen, in normal life i hear women talking about a lot of things but most of the time they're talking about men and that may sound sexist but they do in real life. why wouldn't they in movie. >> to the exclusion of all else i have many conversations with many women and men and amazesly we talk about a wide variety of things but if you look at the dialogue that -- in these movies the bechtel test you will generally see that men are talking not only about their relationships and their romantic dreams, but also about, you know, how to blow up the asteroid or -- >> all right. >> or whatever it is. i want to know why do women -- >> general point that there is a disproportionate emphasis in the culture on how men view things and what men want. >> okay. all right. hold on. i know you want to get in. i have to get arthur in here. you wrote a powerful piece for
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"the daily beast." fixating on a woman from afar and refusing to give up when she acts like she's not interested is something that generally ends badly for everybody involved but it's a narrative that nerds and n echlt rch nerd media kept repeating. explain that, arthur? >> i mean, i'm not going to -- i don't think i would go so far as to say it's a monoculture, that's always exactly the same story but when you have stories about -- when have you stories about underdog guys trying against all odds there's usually a woman in the story who is there sort of as a reward. you know, that -- >> someone is having a conversation without us. who is -- is someone having a conversation? okay. go ahead, finish your thought, arthur. >> i mean, it's kind of undeniable and if you go past, you know, movies, you look at
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tv, video games, a lot of things that influenced me growing up, influenced young guys like me, this idea just that to be successful means to be, you know, in a relationship with a woman and usually in movies it's a conventionally attractive woman, a beautiful girl is your reward for doing well in life and elliot rodger, one of many who thought he wasn't doing well just because from his perspective -- >> it's true of shakespeare and mr. smith goes to washington. he ends up with jean arthur. for goodness sake, that's the plot of a lot of our lives. there are a lot of us who are nerdy guys successful with women way above them. i am one of them. i plead guilty. there's nothing wrong with it. >> that's the plot of -- that's the plot of the male point of view. again. >> but you see, here's the problem i have with what you said and i understand, rachel, what you're saying about the
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male point of view being pro-dominant in movies and i can acknowledge that's a problem but has nothing to do with this hideous violence. if you want to take a look at one of the most prominent violent movies of our time that elliot rodger's father was actually involved with as a second unit director is "hunger games." it is wildly violent but passions the bechtel test because it's all about a violent woman. >> it seems, though, that after every mass shooting we have the same conversation, guns, mental health, culture, i mean but this time it was different because this guy clearly had some sort of hatred for women, some sort of, you know, just dispassionate about women for some reason, i don't know why but impossible to ignore that. tell me what you know about his misogyny online. >> manifesto for the column i wrote and i feel that he's -- you know, i agree with rachel and i agree with arthur that,
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you know, while you can't say hollywood is to blame, certainly the stories that hollywood repeats over and over again are from the male point of view. they drive home the idea that men are entitled to female flesh. i mean, you haven't talked about pornography yet but, you know, if you read this kid's manifesto his first experience of sex was watching porn and writes about how, you know, he thought from that moment on about sex and how he must have it and he would never get it and, of course, porn as it's produced in hollywood much of it is produced on the west coast is providing men with the idea that they could have sex without making women feel any pleasure whatsoever. >> okay. >> so, of course, entitlement, male entitlement is a part of this and it is to blame but, of course, virulent misogyny comes from a lot of places, it's not just hollywood but hollywood has
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some role to play in this. >> nina, hold that thought. i got to get to a break. stay with us. when we come back, why hate bill rants are nothing new in the nerd world and later we'll talk about america the power phil. is this country still the world's policemen and is that what president obama wants?
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if you want to weigh in use a #askdon. is warped hatred for women more a part of our culture than we think and what can we do to fight it if anything. steve guttenberg, rachel sklar, michael medved, nina burleigh and arthur chu. i want to read another part and get your reaction. we are not guaranteed to get laid by the hot chick of our dreams as long as we work hard enough at it. there isn't a team of writers or a studio audience pulling for us to triumph by getting the girl in the end. first, steve, isn't hollywood's biggest part of hollywood's job is to sell a fantasy? >> but it's fiction. that's what movies are for the
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most part. unless it's "lincoln" and a true story or "dallas buyers club" they're fiction and it's fun and that's why you go to the movies. and arthur, that's what being a guy is all about. no matter if you look like brad pitt or you're supposedly whatever a nerd is, you always want the beautiful girl, the popular girl. you want to be the football star. >> so do girls. there are lady nerds. hasn't anyone seen "she's all that." she transforms into the beautiful swan from the nerd -- this is a great movie, by the way. i think that this is missing the point. great movies are great. i watch more tv than anyone that i know. i think the point is here this conversation is only relevant in the context of this tragedy that we are discussing and what we're looking at elliot rodger and what influenced his point of view, his maniac and --
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>> i think the point is -- >> there's something wrong with him. movies have nothing to do with this. >> hang on. >> part of a larger culture. >> go ahead, steve. >> rachel, movies has nothing to do with this, neither does television or books or going to see picasso's cubism. this has to do with a deranged mind. and whether he does this or something else that's completely inappropriate, you know, it happens all the time. but it has nothing to do with art and it has nothing to do with the male point of view or where hollywood is coming from. it really doesn't. i can't believe this. >> quickly, rachel, respond. >> drawing a distinction between the small like category of art and the larger category of culture and how women are portrayed in culture. he got his conception of what women owed him and at the same time that woman who gave it up for sluts from somewhere. this doesn't -- he didn't just invent that concept. >> nina. nina -- >> i think women -- you know,
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what we're missing -- rachel, it's the culture, the culture is it's not just hollywood. you're setting hollywood up as the strawman. it's not just hollywood but this sense of male entitlement that is behind, you know, what they're calling an epidemic of campus rapes where, you know, girls are getting raped all over the place, all over the campuses of this country because young men are taught to think that female flesh is their entitlement and, you know, whose fantasy are we talking about when you say fantasy, yes, we love fantasy but whose fantasy. >> can i ask a question? where in any motion picture or tv show is there a plot where a guy rapes a woman and then she loves him for it or where a guy throws hot scolding coffee on women as elliot rodger did before he started shooting them. there's nothing i can remember. >> "gone with the wind." >> what's that? >> i didn't see the movie version of "the fountainhead" --
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>> but that's 60 years ago. >> for contemporary movies there are not movies where nerds attack women, throw coffee at them, insult them, threaten to kill them then get the girl. >> arthur, we're discussing arthur's article so you should probably respond to a discussion on your own article. >> yeah, yeah, okay, i'm going to jump in. this is one of the things where as a guy i have something to add to the conversation in that one of the things i said in the article was that rodger's manifesto, okay, was over the top. it was, yes, insane, all right, by any definition of the word but it did not sound like it came out of the blue. when you say his mental illness manufactured this attitude that he had that it somehow came like whole cloth out of no reason he hated women that doesn't make sense because he's saying to a much more extreme degree, yes, to a far greater degree he's very unusual. no one is saying that we have a
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country full of people just like him. >> thank you. >> he's saying the same kind of thing you hear guys say that when guys -- you know, when you have a friend who gets drunk and broke up with his girlfriend and gets on a rant about women, haven't we all been there? >> yeah. >> but sometimes -- >> that doesn't mean you want to kill them and doesn't mean you want to threaten them. for goodness sake, complaining about the opposite sex is an american right. >> practically speaking when we're talking about the epidemic and the trend of these violent crimes, they historically and recently disproportionately are targeted at women and they are disproportionately by men and even more so disproportionate disproportionately -- >> which crimes are you talking about? >> 98% of the violent crimes -- >> moist of the murder victims the overwhelming percentage are male. african-american males -- >> 85% of murder/suicides have female victims.
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95% are perpetrated by men. there are 66,000 domestic violence -- >> hold that thought. >> i have stats this. is an epidemic. it's real. >> hold that thought. steve, listen, you know, you heard what arthur said and this is art imitates life, isn't it? >> of course to an extent it does but we're talking about something so violent and so as arthur said insane this doesn't come from any piece of fiction. this comes from a kid who has real problems and what we need to deal with in this country and this world is mental illness. we need to put more money toward it. we need to try to figure out what's wrong with people. we need to figure out how to cure them. how to put them back into society so they become productive people as opposed to people who destroy society. this has nothing to do with any part of art. it has to do with -- >> okay, last word. >> can i -- >> thank you, guys. steve guttenberg is working on a
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script for a feature film project called "the pride of san quentin." steve, thanks for joining us. everybody else, stay with me. nina, you say misogyny is a disease and i want to talk about that next. try alka seltzer reliefchews. they work just as fast and are proven to taste better than tums smoothies assorted fruit. mmm. amazing. yeah, i get that a lot. alka seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief. i missed you, too.ou. hi buddy. mom! awesome! dad!! i missed you. ♪ oh... daddy. chevrolet and its dealers proudly support military appreciation month. with the industry's best military purchase program, for all that have served.
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elliot rodger's hate-filled youtube rants against women have launched a viral hashtag, yes, all women and sparked a heated debate and back with my guests. nina, beyond hollywood, you write in your "new york observer" article that misogyny is a subtle thread wove noon society. how so? >> well, i mean, let's just
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start with gun rampages, okay. you take the gender out of gun rampages when you don't point out that all of them are committed by men. when we talk about them as mental illness and having to do with gun culture, you forget, you know, 00% of the population is female. 50% of the population female population has access to guns. women are -- suffer from mental illness in the same numbers as men. and yet it's all male. the gun rampages are all male. so starting there, this is something that is gendered and i'm taking this from a writer named jackson katz who speaks on this, it's a gendered -- it's a gendered mental ill this is and i would argue that misogyny, the virulent misogyny that's reflected in this 140-page screed that this kid wrote eloquently is not just, you know, reflecting a certain sort of mental illness that can
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happen to anybody, but virulent misogyny is its own mental illness and, you know, the dsm should -- therapists should start addressing it. he was talking about it to his parents for a very long time. i mean, he had given them access to this website this, woman-hating website he was enamored of and refused to look at it because misogyny is so much part of our life. >> his parents actually did look at it and called health professionals and health professionals sent police over but police did not go into the home. i want to go to michael now. regardless of the role that misogyny played in this elliot rodger, whatever he did, there have been almost 2 million tweets since this using this hashtag. "yes, all women because men still respect taught not to rape women or not to rape women or just told to wear more concealing clothes. yes, all women deserve to walk down the street without being cat-called, hollered at or made to feel unsafe in their own neighborhood because i've already rehearsed take whatever you want, just don't hurt me.
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#yes, all women. i mean, do you think there is an undercurrent of misogyny in america and are women or are women being too or being oversensitive here. >> i don't think it has to do with this particular case. and this is one of the problems that i'm hearing here. can we remind ourselves of something of there is a difference between fantasy and the real world. there's even a difference between elliot rodger's fants cyst and the real world. in the real world 4 out of his 6 victims, four of the six dead bodies are males including his roommate. and, yes, does misogyny exist? is it a problem in our society? i am the father of two beautiful daughters and i feel that very profoundly. of course, it's a problem. but it's always been a problem. i don't think there is ang epidemic at work right now. the one area where i do want to agree with what i think nina was saying before, i think pornography is a huge problem in this country and it's vastly more available to people and it's vastly more violent and
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more borderline crazy. they just arrested 71 people for child porn in new york including pillars of the community and i think we should attach an absolute stigma to porn addiction that is a disease and that's a huge problem in america and i think we can all agree on that. >> what we can agree on, no one should be the victim of violence and, you know, rachel, you went public with your own story about violence. tell us about that. >> so i was looking at this yesallwomen hashtag and disagree it doesn't have anything to do with this and it's still going as a response to this and recognizing the misogyny in it and where it intersected with mental illness so these tweets kept on coming and i wanted to participate but at the same time it felt very important like a very important moment of honesty of testimony. people were putting fort their testimony about one woman said she, you know, yes all women
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because when she went to tile a police report the police said she hasn't done it early enough. no one believed her. yes all women because, you know, she had to graduate with her rapist. >> i think -- i don't think anyone disagrees that -- i think that is very important and very legitimate because women have legitimate concerns and actually i learned from reading them but that prompted you to tell your own story. >> sure. so i am one. i had an abusive boyfriend. it got out of hand. he attacked me. he was verbally abusive. >> he said you deserve to be punched in the face like no one has ever deserved to be punched in the face and then eventually he did attack you. >> yes, he said that and more and, you know this, is not to make it about me. it's quite the opposite actually. it was to put forth my story and to say, hey, this can happen to anyone. and however whatever you think i should have done or how i should
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have engaged or maybe i shouldn't have stayed for, you know, a day longer than as soon as i realized that he was also crazy or also had mental illness and had issues, but you know, whatever i did or did not do, his violence was not my fault. >> right. >> and i think that that was what was important and i've had so many women reach out to me and say, thank you for writing this. thank you for bringing it forth and saying that this does happen. it happened to me. no one believed me. i'm afraid to speak up. i mean and that is reflective of something real that is happening. >> i think it's important that you are the one who can tell your own story and no one can edit that for you, right, someone else did something to you. and arthur, i think you have made a very good point when you said that, hey, i'm a guy. i'm a young guy. i think i have something to say here. what do you have to say to young guys out there quickly before i have to go to break? >> i mean i think -- well, when
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michael said that, you know, we're forgetting that several of the victims were men. i'm trying -- >> most of them. two-thirds. >> go ahead, arthur, please. >> elliot rodger hated men as much as he hated women. >> amen sdmrt one thing he hated as much as women who wouldn't sleep with him was the men they chose to be instead, okay, so misogyny or patriarchy, whatever you want to call it is a system that pits men against each other and against women. >> exactly. >> thank you. >> thank you all. >> it hurts everybody and elliot rodger, i don't know how to help a guy like elliot rodger. he was really far gone but there's a lot of guys where i would say, you know, the first step is to -- this is what i said is to not think about getting laid as the prize. getting a woman as the prize. >> i've got to go, arthur. >> worth doesn't come from that. >> thank you very much. >> yeah. >> thank you, don. >> we appreciate all of you joining us and to all of my guest, nina burleigh, please stick around. coming up the president goes to
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west point to talk about america's place in the world. are we still the most powerful nation on earth. should we be? that's next. tomorrow night at 9:00 original "the sixties" premieres. here's a sixties minute for you. ♪ >> hear me now. speaking. >> by 1960 essentially every household in america had a television. >> there was no denying the shift in attitudes towards sex, towards race relation, towards politics. it was all televised. >> never has this di sent been as emotional as intense. >> when there was a huge thing that happened, it happened on tv. >> 330 americans were killed in combat last week in vietnam but the number of wounded, 3886. >> what are you doing. >> i'm getting ready to go to college.
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>> everybody was dropping out and doing god know what is else and i wasn't. >> there was this aggressive innocence to it. >> a place to escape to. >> even if they tried to keep tv this homogeneous whole milk product america found its way in "the sixties" tomorrow at 9:00 on cnn. ♪ of complete darkness.
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for all californians. what should we order? (announcer) alex padilla. secretary of state. ♪ question for you, is america still the world's policeman? president obama told cadets at west point today he wants this country's policy to be might doing right but what exactly does that mean in the face of challenges and hot spots from ukraine to syria and beyond? our senior white house correspondent jim acosta has more now. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> reporter: in his commencement speech at the west point military academy president obama tells the graduates something striking. >> you are the first class to graduate since 9/11 who may not be sent into combat in iraq or afghanistan.
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>> reporter: it's a generation that hardly knows what peace looks like. >> happy for our nation that we're pulling out. you know, for us we were prepared to -- we came here prepared to go to war. >> reporter: from west point -- >> i have two sons serving in the military and i don't want them to be in harm's way either. >> reporter: to howard university in the nation's capital where students feel the change in course after a decade of war. >> united states is not going to go into another war boots on the ground in another country with president obama in power. it's not going to happen. >> just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. >> reporter: in a speech the president lays out what can only be described as the obama doctrine a new balance between force. >> the united states will use military force unilaterally when necessary when our core -- >> reporter: and caution. >> some of our most costly mistakes came from not our restraint but our willingness to rush into military adventures
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without thinking through the consequences. >> reporter: it stretch es back to 2002 before iraq. >> i don't oppose war in all circumstances and when i look out over this crowd today i know there is no shortage of patriots or patriotism. what i do oppose is a dumb war. >> reporter: he made it his mission to end wars but his aides quickly add he is also decisive. >> i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden. >> reporter: but the commander in chief is a reluctant warrior. take libya. >> i want to be clear about what we will not be doing. the united states is not going to deploy ground troops into libya. >> reporter: and syria. >> a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. >> reporter: opting against
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military action to enforce that red line infuriates republican. >> when he told the world they crossed a red line the president sat and didn't do it it reverberated throughout the entire world. >> reporter: but the president insists there are tools besides military might like the sanctions against russia for its invasion of ukraine. >> our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate russia right away. >> reporter: perhaps most telling when this war weary president his hair gray recalled how he came to west point to announce the surge in afghanistan that later claimed the lives of four cadets in the audience that day. >> i believe america's security demanded those deployments. but i am haunted by those deaths. >> reporter: after days of strong hands that the president is ready to authorize the training of syrian rebels, they are not sure. all assistance will continue and if the u.s. wants to arm them the administration will have to go through congress first. jim acosta, cnn, the white house.
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>> jim, thank you very much. when we come right back we'll discuss the so-called obama doctrine plus we have breaking news on the future of secretary eric shinseki and our experts will weigh in on that coming up. dad's home! may is a month of celebrations. from cinco de mayo to mothers day to graduations. and now your chevy dealer is giving you plenty of reasons to celebrate every day in the month of may. get great offers on chevy's most fuel-efficient line up ever...
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president obama argues america needs to use both a strong military and diplomacy to deal with the world's hot spots. joining me now is major general james "spider" marks, former commanding general. buck sexton a former analyst serving in iraq and afghanistan. now the national security editor for "the blaze" and daniel kertz phale this. and nina burleigh is with me. the white house sources are telling cnn that secretary shinseki's career is on thin ice while the president waits for the outcome of the investigation into the v.a. scandal that cnn has been reporting on. a quick answer from you, general. should he have already been fired, though? >> i think general shinseki probably should have gone to the president and said, look, i'm -- you're in military terms, you're burning far too much daylight on me. i need to go. i will be the source of too many
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discussions and too many editorials and there needs to be a transformative figure that gets into the v.a. and can really shake things up. general shinseki's a magnificent leader and our nation is grateful for guys like him. >> coming from the white house at this hour using the term thin ice are they foreshadowing this guy is going to go and soon. >> a ridiculous comment to make. not a very professional and mature comment to make. what they're say something clearly, look, we've said all along we'll wait for the results of this investigation, those results are imminent and we're concerned with the future of the v.a. and shinseki's role in it. that i think has been made clear. >> quickly, what do you make of the so-called obama doctrine that jim reported on? >> don, you're talking to me. >> yes. >> yeah, i thought what the president said today was not necessarily the type of speech that a thousand cadets that are about to be secretary lieutenants want to hear, clearly the message needs to be, look, all you young men and
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women are clearly going to be commissioned into a world that is still very uncertain, very unknown and we need you to be prepared and we need you to be focused. we need you to be able to do the nation's bidding. for the president to come out and talk about the right to self-defense and mul multilateralism, transparency and support for democracy and human right, i would say, great, mr. president, that's what you're supposed to do and clearly they get it. what i would like to hear from you, help me define what our core interests are. what our national interests are so as we move forward, we get a sense of how our preparedness is, in fact, going to fit into this unknown future. >> can i offer a less polite analysis of what -- >> absolutely. >> it was a waste of everyone's time. it was waste of american people's time. there was no new policy discussed. in fact, the president talked a lot about platitudes, things you would learn in an international relations 101 class. when you break down what the purpose is i can't find it. he's saying he was wrong on
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syria. now he's going back on that and saying we'll help counterterrorism operations around the worm. we're already doing that and what seemed to me they would rather talk about their abysmal foreign policy up stead of the deplorable conditions we've seen at the v.a. because that's better for them in this news psych senator lugar let me follow up on that, buck. more help -- he pledged more help for the syrian rebels today, a long, long time after the president's red line on chemical weapons was allegedly crossed. is the use of it timely or too little too late. >> it's too little, too late. comes at a time when the president recognizes that his doctrine of indecision which is i think the most polite way you could describe it isn't working. it's not helping. siree is spiraling completely out of control over 160,000 dead by the latest count and even the pentagon and the state department under hblg hillary clinton were saying we should do something, give them arms, maybe consider a no-fly zone but the president didn't want to make that decision. year six out of eight for his presidency and now he wants to
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tell us how he characterizes his decision-making around the world, america's role in the world. if you want to tell the american people you believe in exceptionalism you probably don't. >> daniel, you want to respond to that but also this because the president said today, i thought it was a good line, i don't know if you agree just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. i mean. >> well, i would first of all note there are recent administrations that really could have benefited from international relations 101 so i'm not sure everyone would take that as a slight given some of our recent experiences. this was first and foremost a commander in chief speaking to cadets and i think obama showed as he has multiple times in the past six years he cares deeply and thinks seriously about these decisions to use force and when it is and is not right to put their lives at risk. there was another speech embedded which was this case for a new kind of american leadership. i don't think he hit all the points he could have but there was a strong record and a lot of
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his critics don't understand what that means. >> nine that, the important point is to hear how will this go down in moscow, tehran and pyongyang? >> that's the conversation that, you know, the national -- the foreign policy experts want to have. you know, i noticed that while obama was speaking, "the washington post," foreign policy expert was tweeting, you know, he's obviously directing this speech to the american electorate. he's not engaging in the foreign policy debate. well, you know, you say the american electorate like it's a bad thing. you know, the american electorate are the people, you know, they're the average joes in pennsylvania where i was this afternoon and these towns that have just been bled dry by this gigantic folly of the iraq where which we're still living in the ashes of which is why they're having this conversation about the v.a. hospitals because the v.a. hospitals are filled with people who are maimed, whose brains are damaged by ieds who
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didn't have to be sent over there, who are -- by the way, the v.a. is always a mess. it's always a mess. it's always a problem and so, of course, they're going to throw shinseki under the bus because they've made this into a, you know, an issue now but the only reason it's an issue is because there was this hideous folly of the iraq war which we should never -- >> out of time. >> yeah, buck, go ahead. quickly. >> the problem is not -- is not really shinseki. the problem is you have the government in charge of what is a single payer system >> that's right. >> a conversation we could have another time. if we were to look at talking about putting people in dangerous places and what happens as a result of that the president of the united states surged troops in afghanistan, why did he do that? because he promised he would. he fired his commanding general. why because he sort of embarrassed him. when you look at the timetables, president obama set up in afghanistan, he is playing partisan politics with our troops' lives in the theater of war.
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that's been the overriding concern of every single strategic decision he made in afghanistan, it is a -- >> i want mark general marks t in on this. >> clearly our engagement in afghanistan could be debated quite some time but i think it's inappropriate, nina, for you describe the challenges in the v.a. as a result of a folly in iraq. we have to have a v.a. that works and i think we're hopefully we'll be able to turn the corner. there is a lot of work that needs to be done but let's not throw -- let's not throw general shinseki under the bus. >> that's the last word. >> he has to be able to held accountable. >> daniel, please come back. we'll have you talk next time. thank you, everyone. when come back the passing of a legendary poet and personal inspiration to me and many around the world, maya angelou. you! you told us your number one olive garden dishes. now they're part of our 2 for $25 guest favorites! featuring for the very first time
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before we go tonight, some thoughts about maia angelou who died at her north carolina home today at the age of 86. dr. maya angelou -- her life was like the ultimate glad watt school, poet, political activist and the voice of more than one generation. she had been frail and suffering from heart problems but her heart and mind and her soul were on vivid display in what may
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have been her greatest work "i know why the cage bird sings." her poem for bill clinton's inauguration "on the pulse of morning." >> today the rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully, come, you may stand up on my back and face your distant destiny, but seek no haven in my shadow. i will give you no hiding place down here. good evening, everyone. thank you for joining us. we begin tonight with breaking news. fallout from that sharply critical inspector general's report on the v.a. hospital in phoenix. a document that confirms what this program has been uncovering since last november. namely, the veterans have been